Ethics & Global Politics is a peer reviewed international Open Access journal whose aim is to foster theoretical contributions to the study of ethics and global politics. It does not favour any philosophical perspective or political problem but emphasizes the importance of closing the gap between normative ethics and political theory, on the one hand, and contemporary political problems in the global domain, on the other. The journal provides a forum for original research articles, reviews and research notes that integrate normative issues within philosophy and political theory with political problems related to processes and phenomena that transgress traditional distinctions between regional, national, international and global levels of politics. In particular it encourages contributions that provide novel ways of approaching and conceptualizing the political challenges the world faces today, for instance in relation to global institutional arrangements, environmental protection, policy development, poverty, technology and knowledge, future generations, and migration.


The library contains articles of Ethics & Global Politics as of vol. 1(2008) to current.

Recent Submissions

  • Statements on race and class: the fairness of skills-based immigration criteria

    Magnus Skytterholm Egan (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-05-01)
    It is often argued that states do not have any special obligations towards economic migrants, and that skills-based selection of migrants is morally unproblematic. In this paper, I argue that even if one does not endorse special obligations towards economic migrants, there are good reasons to be critical of skills-based selection due to its effect on the citizens in the country they are migrating to. I introduce the issue of the impact of migrant selection on domestic populations by considering Blake’s arguments against racial selection in immigration. He argues that racial selection is wrong because ‘[…] making a statement of racial preference in immigration necessarily makes a statement of racial preference domestically as well’. In this paper, I consider whether a similar case can be made against selecting migrants based on their marketable skills. I begin with a short overview of skills-based selection and some of the normative arguments put forward in favour of it, before considering Blake’s argument. Thereafter, I show how Blake’s example of race differs significantly from selection based on skills, in part due to the nature of identification with race and skills. However, I argue that the effects of skills-based selection on domestic population also need to be considered in any normative argument proposing such migration regulations. These effects include changes in our evaluations of equality and citizenship, negative impact on the social bases of self-respect, as well as specific disadvantages for segments of society and a negative effect on social mobility.
  • Dilemmas regarding returning ISIS fighters

    Trudy Govier; David Boutland (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-12-01)
    The forces of ISIS (the so-called Islamic State) have lost most of the territory they held in Syria and Iraq, and the anti-ISIS forces are inclined to declare victory. On the presumption that we are in a context of aftermath to this struggle, that aftermath will itself be characterized by serious difficulties. A crucial problem in this context is that of returning foreign fighters. It is estimated that some 5600 persons left western countries to join the ISIS forces. Many of these men and women have been killed or imprisoned. Some will remain abroad to continue violent activities in alliance with ISIS or other jihadist forces. And some will seek to return home to the country they left. Regarding these people, referred to here as returnees, important issues of ethics and policy arise. These issues are likely to be disturbing and polarizing, with the result that some governments hold back from discussing them. Thinking that dodging the issues is a mistake, we explore some of them here, first setting the context in which they arise and then describing the central ethical dilemmas, which the tension between efforts to protect public safety and concern for the rights of suspected persons.
  • May states select among refugees?

    Max Gabriel Cherem (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
    This article argues that there is no general ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer to the question of whether states may permissibly use group-based criteria to permanently resettle refugees from certain contexts. Indeed, I argue that this question only makes sense with respect to a range of narrowly circumscribed scenarios. And, even though it may appear that states have wide discretion with respect to refugees in these scenarios, the way that these scenarios have arisen and continue to be maintained casts doubt upon even this limited conclusion Nevertheless, consulting both the history and practice of international refugee law can help us understand why some particular forms of group-based prioritizations are foreclosed. Such attention to practice based details also sensitizes us to the solution structure (and historic interest constellation) behind refugee law, as well as those institutional tweaks and patches that could actually stand a chance of making a marked difference.
  • LGBT rights and refugees: a case for prioritizing LGBT status in refugee admissions

    Annamari Vitikainen (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
    This article discusses the case of refugees who are LGBT, and the possible grounds for using LGBT status as a basis for prioritizing LGBT persons in refugee admissions. I argue that those states most willing and able to protect LGBT persons against a variety of (also) non-asylum-grounding injustices have strong moral reasons to admit and prioritize refugees with LGBT status over non-LGBT refugees in refugee admissions. These states – typically, Western liberal democracies – are uniquely positioned to provide effective protection for refugees who are LGBT, owing to the failures of other, also refugee receiving, states to do so. The case for prioritizing refugees with LGBT status is built upon two interrelated factors. First, on the specific vulnerability of LGBT persons to a variety of (also) non-asylum-grounding injustices, and second, on the relatively low number of countries that are both willing and able to protect LGBT persons against such injustices.
  • Vulnerable minorities and democratic legitimacy in refugee admission

    Zsolt Kapelner (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
    In this paper I defend the view that the democratic legitimacy of refugee admission policies requires the democratic inclusion of asylum seekers. I argue that this includes not only granting them formal participation rights, but also ensuring that they have a sufficient level of participatory capabilities to exercise these rights. This leads to the specific problem of asylum seekers with vulnerable minority backgrounds. Their participatory capabilities may be hindered by social injustice stemming from their state of origin which the receiving state, one might argue, has no duty to redress. Redressing inequalities that stem from social injustice in other states may be thought of as being beyond the limits of refuge, and therefore unreasonable to demand from receiving states. I propose a defence of what I call the Inclusion Thesis against this objection based on the idea that the democratic inclusion of asylum seekers is necessary for making sure that they can enjoy their basic right to have a say. Receiving states do not generally have a duty to rectify unjust inequalities among asylum seekers that stem from their states of origin. However, when this is necessary for making sure that they can enjoy their basic rights, they may be required to do so. Therefore, since receiving states have a duty to ensure that asylum seekers with vulnerable minority backgrounds can enjoy their basic right to have a say, they also have a duty to make sure that their participatory capabilities are equalized.
  • Refugees and the limits of political philosophy

    Sarah Fine (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
    Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries asylum from persecution, but in practice many people seek asylum and do not find it. Where asylum is in short supply, it may seem obvious and reasonable for philosophers to ask whether we can identify principles for prioritizing the asylum claims of some over those of others. In this paper I consider what kind of question this is, and whether it is one that philosophers are in a good position to address. I argue that philosophers have a number of powerful reasons to approach it with serious caution, and even to avoid it altogether. I outline some potential pitfalls of answering it, including the risk of normalizing violations of the principle of non-refoulement.
  • Refugees and minorities: some conceptual and normative issues

    Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen; Sune Lægaard (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
    In many contexts, states have a duty to take special measures to protect minorities. Does this duty include prioritizing minority over majority refugees? To answer this question, we first show that a vulnerability-focused notion of ‘minorities’ is preferable to a numerical one. Given the vulnerability-focused notion, there is a presumption in favour of prioritizing minority over majority refugees. However, this presumption is sometimes defeated. We identify five conditions under which this is the case. In fact, surprisingly, under special circumstances, states should prioritize certain majority over certain minority refugees.
  • The ethics of refugee prioritization: reframing the debate

    Kasper Lippert-Rasmussen; Annamari Vitikainen (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-01-01)
  • Reframing the refugee crisis: from rescue to interconnection

    Serena Parekh (Taylor & Francis Group, 2020-03-01)
    In this paper I argue that we should not frame the debate over whether or not we have duties to help refugees in terms of duties of rescue. This way of framing the issue, where Western states are depicted as rescuing refugees from harms unconnected to them, does not adequately represent the reality experienced by refugees in the 21 st century. I suggest that we need a framework that includes the secondary harms experienced by refugees as they try to seek refuge in camps, urban spaces and via asylum. These secondary harms constitute serious violations of human rights and prevent refugees from accessing the minimum conditions of human dignity. As a result, the rescue metaphor is inappropriate and, perhaps more importantly, prevents us from having a proper debate about the obligations of states in general, and Western states in particular, to refugees.
  • Recognition, misrecognition and justice

    Gottfried Schweiger (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
    My critical engagement with David Ingram’s book ‘World Crisis and Underdevelopment’ is divided into three parts. In the first part I will explore how experiences of misreognition are related to experiences of injustice. In the second part I will ask about the criteria that make experiences of non-recognition or misrecognition unjust. Finally, I will briefly discuss the ‘self-subordination social recognition paradox’.
  • Towards a contextual understanding of human rights

    Willy Moka-Mubelo, S.J. (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
    Should human rights be understood within a specific context? In order words, should the discourse on human rights be historically contingent? If so, isn’t there a risk that they will lose their universal character? I argue that the standard of human rights provided by major documents and treaties of human rights must be respected, but at the same time, there are rights that must be developed in accordance with a particular context and specific needs of the people. Some might object that in contextualizing human rights they run the risk of losing their universal character. The argument of the universal character of human rights does not always meet a unanimous consent of everyone. Some non-Westerners thinkers, for example, reject the idea of the universality of human rights because, they argue, human rights reflect and perpetrate the western culture, which is sometimes at odd with non-western cultures. They then advocate a reconstruction and clarification of the moral, political, and legal status of human rights. This requirement of clarifying the different aspects of human rights status appears in Ingram’s argument when he affirms that the theoretical clarification of the apparent incoherence of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, regarding the moral, political, and legal status of human rights must be sensitive to the multiple functions and justificatory grounds of human rights. Thus, the leading question to be answered in this paper will be: should there be a definitive list of rights for all contexts and all circumstances?
  • Social freedom and migration in a non-ideal world

    Drew Thompson (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
    In this paper, I identify two key contributions that David Ingram makes to the migration ethics literature, one methodological and one substantive. Ingram’s methodological contribution is to model how non-ideal theorizing can be done without abstracting away the complexities surrounding migration, including how the motivation to migrate is tied to existing institutional structures. He does this by beginning with the powerlessness and coercion experienced by certain classes of migrants, which he analyses using a rich conception of agency as social freedom. From here, Ingram develops his substantive contribution. Ingram argues that cosmopolitan and communitarian analyses cannot fully capture the dilemma surrounding forced migration: migrate to improve welfare or remain for the sake of identity and community. Ingram identifies the injustice of borders as occurring within the context of an interconnected international order operating without discursive accountability to most of those affected by its policies. Ingram argues that until international institutions are suitably reformed, asylum is owed to economic refugees because of the coercive circumstances existing in their countries of origin. This allows him to show, too, why specific states have obligations to asylum seekers: because they participate in the institutions that have contributed to these circumstances. Although I agree with Ingram’s overall approach, I will question whether he downplays the demands of his conception of social freedom and consider the feasibility of institutionalizing his discourse theoretic framework.
  • Response to my commentators

    David Ingram (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
  • Introduction

    David Ingram (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
  • “Whose development? What hegemony? Tackling the structural dynamics of global social injustice.”

    Albena Azmanova (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
    I briefly review the main parameters of the conceptual framework David Ingram builds, and then proceed to test its heuristic power by examining its capacity to address three types of domination (relational, structural and systemic) typical of contemporary capitalism.
  • Non-citizen children and the right to stay – a discourse ethical approach

    Jonathan Josefsson (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-11-01)
    The increased efforts of democratic states to enforce immigration control and deportations have sparked heated public debates about the rights of non-citizen children to be granted asylum. Local communities, anti-deportation movements, and children themselves have rejected the justifications provided by state authorities and have mobilized claims in the public sphere for the rights of non-citizen children to stay. To date, scholars have primarily analysed normative issues about the rights of non-citizen children with departure in legal positive rights as enshrined in domestic and international law; however, scholars have paid less attention to political theoretical aspects of the issue. This article takes its point of departure from claims for non-citizen children’s right to stay as formulated in the public sphere and uses discourse ethics to theorize in what ways these claims challenge state power and contemporary laws on asylum. In addition, this article contributes to the scholarly debates about the pressing global political issue of child migration and the political theory of human rights for children. Building on Seyla Benhabib’s concepts reciprocity and democratic iterations, this article develops a discourse theoretical approach that offers an alternative framework to a legalistic approach for the normative analysis of the rights of non-citizen children.
  • Principles of justice and the idea of practice-dependence

    Johan Brännmark (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-09-01)
    In recent years, several political theorists have argued that reasonable principles of justice are practice-dependent. In this paper it is suggested that we can distinguish between at least two main models for doing practice-dependent theorizing about justice, interpretivism and constructivism, and that they can be understood as based in two different conceptions of practices. It is then argued that the reliance on the notion of participants that characterizes interpretivism disables this approach from adequately addressing certain matters of justice and that a better way of developing the idea of practice-dependence can be found in a constructivism that starts from the Rawlsian idea of overlapping consensus, but which shifts the focus of that approach from societies to a more open-ended category of domains, and which understands the parties to a possible overlapping consensus as stakeholders in a certain set of interconnected practices.
  • Prolegomena to a critical theory of the global order

    David Held; Pietro Maffettone (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-09-01)
    We start from, and expand on, a basic insight in negative dialectic, namely, that our main concern should be with the absolute worst in political life. We then consider how this might have an impact on the way we understand the role and grounds of moral equality. Subsequently, we move on to explain the importance of decency in political morality. Finally, we take a closer look to basic data about global poverty and inequality and what these might tell us in light of our analysis of the foundations of moral equality and its relationship to social cruelty.
  • Can the right to internal movement, residence, and employment ground a right to immigrate?

    Michael Rabinder James (Taylor & Francis Group, 2019-12-01)
    This article challenges Kieran Oberman’s derivation of a right to immigrate from the right to internal movement, residence, and employment. His argument depends on a cantilever strategy, which finds it illogical to recognize one right without recognizing an analogous second right. This differs from a direct argument, which derives a right directly from an essential human interest, and an instrumental argument, which identifies one right as a means to protecting another right. The strength of a cantilever argument depends on the direct or instrumental foundations of the initial right and the aptness of the analogy between it and the new right that one seeks to establish. Oberman’s argument fails on both accounts. First, his defense of the initial right to internal movement, residence, and employment, although portrayed as a direct argument, actually rests on inapt cantilever analogies with other rights, such as freedom of speech or religion. Second, the overall cantilever argument for deriving the right to immigrate fails, because immigration across fiscally separate states is not analogous to movement, residence, and employment within a single, fiscally unified state. Instead, a right to travel and visit is the proper outcome of Oberman’s argument.
  • Responsibility for structural injustice

    Farid Abdel-Nour (Taylor & Francis Group, 2018-01-01)
    Following Iris Marion Young, Catherine Lu allocates responsibility for transforming unjust global structures to the agents who participate in perpetuating and reproducing those structures. She also adopts Young’s qualitative distinction between the ‘liability’ and ‘social connection’ models of responsibility, reserving the first for interactional injustice where identifiable victims and perpetrators are involved, and the second for structural injustice where unjust outcomes emerge without any identifiable wrongdoers. This article’s argument is that Young’s and Lu’s specific allocation of the burden for transforming unjust global structures makes sense only if we reject the notion of a qualitative distinction between two models of responsibility and acknowledge instead that there is continuity in the conceptual tools available for thinking about responsibility for both interactional and structural injustice.

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